Nwet Kay Khine

Biography

Nwet Kay Khine is a former journalist and writer from Myanmar. Nwet joined the Master program for International Development Studies in Chulalongkorn University and  later enrolled in the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Journalism, Media and Globalization in Aarhus University, Denmark and later in Hamburg University, Germany. She completed her doctoral study at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies in Mahidol University with a thesis titled “Press Censorship in Myanmar From Colonial Days to Democratic Transition in the 21st Century”. Nwet has been an active member of civil society movements for environmental justice and democracy in Myanmar since 2008 and Nwet’s post-doctoral project will be embedded within the effort to build strong autonomous social movements initiated by agrarian civil society groups led by Paung Ku and its partners. Nwet is examining how neoliberal capitalism, authoritarianism and populism came about to converge in today’s Myanmar to form a tripodal axis of power, how does the latter operate, and how have such reactionary forces impacted on the emerging autonomous social movements.

Abstract

Actions for food sovereignty: Resisting neoliberal agricultural policies in Myanmar

Under the National League for Democracy Government, neoliberalism finally gained quick momentum into Myanmar. Policy makers have been crafting agriculture policies and laws with an aim to boost industrialization of agriculture and to increase competitiveness in the international market. It is loud and clear that these land, seeds and other policy regimes have negative impacts on wellbeing of small-scale farmers and poverty reduction. Food sovereignty approach is taken up by a number of civil society organizations to counterchallenge the neo-liberal discourse that directly and indirectly harm pheasants’ rights and autonomy, social justice and environmental sustainability. Yet, forms of struggles for food sovereignty are still in nascent state. A straightforward struggle against neoliberal capitalism even in societies with liberal democratic institutions and strong autonomous progressive social movements is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, there are growing concerns and emerging calls for raising the speed and volume of resistance actions by using “food sovereignty” concept as an intellectual and practical tool. This paper will try to analyze individual and collective actions of the civil society for food sovereignty awareness among respective stakeholders and how their experiences can best offer lesson learned in defending the farmers from unfair trade and property rights regime driven by agrobusiness conglomerates.

Affiliation: Paung Ku Social Services Organization